How Auto Dealers Can Bring in More Customers and Retain Them

Written by Joe Glaser

November 30, 2019

Buying a car is a big decision for any person. People want to do everything in their power to ensure they make the right purchase. Given the prices involved, it’s hardly any surprise that people exercise caution when they are sorting through their options online. The great thing for shoppers is that they now have more resources to use during the purchasing process. They don’t have to just go to the first dealership they see. Shoppers have the option of looking online for the car they want to buy and the dealership they want to get it from. It’s possible that they have already made the final decisions regarding their purchase before they even set foot on a car lot. Car dealerships can’t just hope that shoppers notice them though. In this era of readily available information, the onus is on the dealerships to craft smarter automotive marketing strategies. If you want to know how to sell more cars, then you’ve come to the right place. Included below are some valuable tips dealerships can use as they attempt to lure in more customers and secure their business long-term. Let’s get to those tips now.

Develop an Online Presence

Throughout this article, you’ll be reading about some interesting statistics related to the automotive industry, specifically relating to sales. The first one is this: Via Dialogtech, 95 percent of the people who purchase vehicles will go online in search of information. The aforementioned revelation isn’t particularly surprising. People go online to look up just about everything, so of course they will do the same thing if they want to learn more about a particular car. Another key stat to note here is that prospective buyers don’t just go to one place when they are perusing the car listings online. The average consumer will visit over four websites as they are searching for their new car. What all of this means is that the online world matters more than ever in the car buying process. If you want to get shoppers to notice your dealership, you must establish an online presence, assuming you haven’t already. That typically means setting up a website.

The Characteristics of a Good Dealership Website

Putting together a good website for a car dealership doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to achieve a few things with it, namely:
  • The website must provide quick access to your selection of cars
  • The website must present contact info and other information clearly
  • The website must be easy to navigate
An issue many dealerships run into is that they tend to overload customers with information. They talk about new cars that just came in, cars that are on sale, and other promotions that are ongoing. Talking about those things is fine, but when you throw them right in the face of the website’s visitors, they may be turned off by the hard push and take their business elsewhere. The wise move is to divide the information into segments so that it is easier for your potential customers to digest. The importance of having a search engine present on your dealership’s website cannot be stressed enough. You need to make it easier for your possible clients to spot the car they are looking for as soon as possible. Invest in your search function and make sure that it works properly because you don’t want your visitors to grow frustrated with it. Also make it a point to make your contact information easily seen. Keep it on the front page and dedicate a separate a page to it that contains more details. One last thing about your website, you must make it mobile-friendly. Many car shoppers are busy. They don’t have the time to browse on a laptop or desktop computer. The average shopper will spend about 33 percent of their time browsing for cars on a mobile device, so don’t forget to accommodate them.

Create YouTube and Facebook Accounts for Your Car Dealership

As you know, becoming visible online requires more than just having your own website. Relying solely on a business website means you will miss out on some channels that are very useful for drawing in new customers. Per CBT News, 22 percent of people shopping for new cars made use of social media to look them up. Furthermore, the social networking sites that were used most often for looking up cars are Facebook and YouTube. Knowing that, you have to do something with those sites to maximize the amount of online traffic you’re dealership is getting. Create accounts on those sites and proceed to post quality content. Short yet informative videos are always popular. People have also shown an affinity for viewing test drive videos of vehicles online. Try to upload as many of those for the cars you have at the dealership. If you want to lure in even more customers, you can also invest in paid search. People online who stumble upon dealerships through search engine results have shown a tendency to take the next step and actually contact the company. Once again, don’t forget to include your dealership’s contact information to make it easier for other users to get in touch if they find something that piques their interest.

Monitor Your Online Presence

It’s not enough to just have a website and social media accounts. You also need to know how well they are performing so that you can make adjustments if needed or do what you can to maintain their level of performance if they are already registering favorable results. To accomplish this, you should look for software specifically designed for managing your online channels. Look for software known as an Interaction Management platform. Along with helping you more effectively manage the online channels, that program will also provide you with information regarding how many people are checking out your content.

Make the Call Experience Pleasant for Your Potential Customers

For those curious about how to sell more cars, one of the secrets is in utilizing an old method of communication. While many folks now prefer not to take and make phone calls in most situations, the same does not hold true when they are shopping for cars. Around 61 percent of car-seekers will call a dealership once they are done with their research and when they do, they want to speak to someone who can answer their questions right away. So, how do you ensure that your prospects have no trouble contacting you if they decide to call? You can start by having more than one contact number. The last thing you want is for a customer to run into a busy line when they dial your dealership. It’s also important to have the right people fielding the calls from your customers. Inexperienced salespeople may struggle with certain questions and customers may grow frustrated if they observe that. Put your best foot forward by having your most experienced sales personnel handle the calls. Remind your salespeople to answer all the questions they can too. Even if the information the customer is seeking is available on the site, the salespeople should not miss the opportunity to address a concern as soon as possible.

Utilize Automation, but Don’t Abandon Personalized Interactions Altogether

Thus far, the automotive marketing tips featured in this article have focused on attracting customers. Now it’s time to discuss the things that can help you retain them. To start, let’s discuss automation. Hopefully, the methods you employ for bringing in customers will indeed work. That’s obviously a good thing for your business, but having more customers to deal with does present a bit of a problem. Once they send in questions, it can be difficult to respond to all of them in a timely manner. This is why many businesses turn to automation. Automated messages are not supposed to serve as stand-ins for exchanges with live agents. Instead, they are designed to let the customer know that their query was received and that it will be addressed soon. You can get away with using automated responses on Facebook or perhaps through email, but if a customer is calling, that must be answered right away. Encourage your salespeople to take their time with those phone calls. As discussed throughout this article, phone calls are incredibly important in the world of car sales. Empower your employees to take a personal approach to those phone calls so that customers can feel that they are truly being heard. Some customers may prefer to talk to the salesperson who sold them the car in the first place. If it’s possible to have that agent come to the phone, go ahead and make that happen. Not all messages you send via Facebook or through email have to be automated either. If a customer wants to have the conversation through message exchanges, then you should oblige. Automated messages should only account for a small percentage of your dealership’s customer interactions. Whenever possible, personalized interactions should take place.

Maintain a Good Inventory

Another thing you should if you want to know how to sell more cars is the importance of inventory. Dealerships have to perform a kind of balancing act here. Stocking up on in-demand vehicles is obviously a must, but you don’t want too many cars sticking around on your lot. Wards Auto recommends using inventory management tools to determine how many vehicles you should keep on your lot and how you should price them. Be ready to make adjustments as well. If you’re marketing efforts bear fruit, more customers will likely go to your dealership in search of their desired vehicles. You may have to increase the number of cars available on your lot as your marketing channels continue to bring leads to your business. Once you’ve established a rapport with some of your customers, you can also ask them if they would like to see certain vehicles. By bringing those in, you could complete a sale on a less in-demand vehicle.

Offer a Unique Experience during Every Customer Interaction

How you approach your customers once they are on the lot is just as important as all the things you’ve done to lure them to the dealership in the first place. If your agents don’t get the customer interactions right here, all your earlier efforts could be for naught. The secret to getting those interactions is to offer a personalized and unique experience to each and every customer. Having a script for customer interactions is okay to use as a kind of guide, but your agents should be willing to tweak their approach as needed depending on the situation. Your agents should also determine how enthusiastic and engaging they need to be as they prepare to meet with a customer. Hopefully, the earlier interactions with each customer will help them figure out the level of enthusiasm they should show once they meet face-to-face. Get those things right and a sale could materialize in the very near future.

Allow Customers to Become Advocates for Your Dealership through Word of Mouth

The importance of consistently having good customer interactions cannot be stressed enough. According to this video from Digital Dealer, 77 percent of customers are willing to offer a review and 90 percent of potential customers will also read reviews at some point. Investing in providing a good customer experience is crucial because you can have no better advocates for your dealership than your previous customers. If they say that you provide a great customer experience, you can bet that more than a few folks online will take note of that.


Having your car dealership stand out from all the other options is no easy feat, but it can be done. By utilizing marketing channels both old and new, you can build up a large customer base and hold on to their business for an extended period of time.
<a href="" target="_self">Joe Glaser</a>

Joe Glaser

Joe Glaser is a marketing consultant and automotive industry expert. He writes for Automotive Marketing Magazine and is a regular contributor to Forbes and The Washington Post.

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